ARLINGTON, Texas — Masahiro Tanaka kept missing his spots for the New York Yankees.
Once the Japanese right-hander allowed the first three Texas batters in the second inning to reach base and score, the Yankees never caught up.
Colby Lewis worked six innings for his 11th victory as the Rangers won 5-2 on Wednesday, a night after AL East-leading New York beat them 21-5.
Tanaka (7-4) had won his previous three starts, a stretch when he was the first Yankees pitcher since April 2013 to go at least seven innings in three consecutive victories. He struck out three and walked three, giving up four runs over six innings in Texas.
"It's not just the splitter. On all my pitches, I didn't have command tonight," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "It all comes down to mechanics. If my mechanics are there, the ball is coming off my hand efficiently. In the second inning, I wasn't getting the tight downfall that I wanted."
After the Yankees scored two runs in the second, nine fewer than in the same inning the previous night, the Rangers quickly responded.
"He didn't throw the split for strikes. When you get in bad counts, you can't get hitters to chase because they can be more selective. His command was not great," manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought he kept us in the game tonight. That's what we ask of our starting pitchers. But we know he's capable of pitching better."
Adrian Beltre had a single to start the second, before Mitch Moreland walked and Josh Hamilton had the first of his two RBI singles. Texas went ahead after run-scoring hits by Shin-Soo Choo and Delino DeShields.
Beltre had two hits and scored twice for the Rangers, who won for only the second time in their last 14 home games.
Lewis (11-4) struck out five while scattering seven hits and allowing two runs. He hit a batter but didn't have a walk while winning his third consecutive start.
"Colby probably didn't have his best stuff, but Colby's probably best when he doesn't have his best stuff," manager Jeff Banister said. "I think he stays focused."
Shawn Tolleson worked a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Carlos Beltran led off the Yankees second with his eighth homer of the season. There were three consecutive two-strike, two-out singles — including Jacoby Ellsbury's for a 2-0 lead — before Brett Gardner's inning-ending fly ball.
New York had won four straight, and eight of nine.
Beltre had another leadoff single in the fifth and came home when Hamilton grounded into a double play. While scoring a run, the play ended the club record-matching nine consecutive games without a double play.
BIG LEAGUE DEBUT
Caleb Cotham, the third Yankees pitcher, made his major league debut after being called up earlier Wednesday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 27-year-old right-hander was the team's fifth-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2009. Cotham was the 47th player used this season by the Yankees, matching Tampa Bay for the second-most in the majors behind Atlanta's 51. Texas has used 46 players.
Hamilton had his fourth game with multiple RBIs when he added a run-scoring single in the seventh. That gave the 2010 AL MVP 10 RBIs in his 26 games back with the Rangers.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira was out of the starting lineup, but Girardi said it was a planned day off. Teixeira was hit on the foot by a pitch in Tuesday night's game.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland begins his rehab assignment Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock, when he is expected to go two innings or 35 pitches. Holland has been out since a shoulder issue only one inning into the home opener.
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda, who leads the AL with a 7.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, goes for his 10th victory.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-9, 3.19 ERA) is set to start the series finale, at a time when he is being mentioned as a possible target for some contending teams before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline.